Montreal–Vieux Montreal

I wasn’t expecting Montreal to be so French. I knew the City had retained its French language, but I assumed because it’s Canada it would still be very much English. I was wrong. Everyone speaks French first. The signs are in French and only sometimes translated to English. Even my Airbnb host admitted to not knowing English very well (despite what she said, her English was very good). And, so here you are in North America—in Canada who it still part of the English Commonwealth—are you feel like you’re in France.

You feel even more like you’re in France when you reach Vieux Montreal—Old Montreal. The architecture becomes strikingly European and Parisian and you genuinely feel like you’ve been transported to a medieval street. Old Montreal is how I pictured all of Montreal to look before I left. Cobbled street. Gothic and Beaux-Arts architecture.

There’s a sudden shift the moment you leave Old Montreal—one minute you’re walking through a series of low rise elegant buildings and the next you’re standing next to a plain rather boring skyscraper. But, that’s beside the point. More miraculous is that this French speaking city, in this French speaking province (actually Quebecois to be specific) has not only been able to retain its French culture but that it’s standing at all.

Almost every building we went into had a line that went “the original building was constructed in the 1600s but burned to the ground in a fire and was later rebuilt.” Apparently Montreal had a fire epidemic in the 1700s. Much like London following their Great Fire, Montreal ultimately enforced building codes that limited the amount of wood construction permitted in the City. Given how many times so much of the City burned to the ground it’s remarkable the City looks European at all.

But, it does. And, I suggest you study up on your French before visiting.

IMG_9601 (1280x971)
Old Montreal from the Old Port

IMG_9599 (1280x853)

IMG_9597 (794x1280)
Quai de l’Horloge- Old Clocktower on the Clocktower Quay. It is a memorial to sailors who died during World War One
IMG_9593 (1280x853)
Clocktower from below
IMG_9586 (853x1280)
The tower was originally designed to hide ugly sheds that sat on the Quay. It was by the clock that many sailors set their watch–making it the Port’s timekeeper
IMG_9582 (1280x853)
The clocktower and Ile Saint Helene in the distance
IMG_9581 (1280x853)
Chapelle Notre Dame-de-bon-Secours–one of the oldest churches in Montreal (built over the ruins of another church that burned to the ground). It was known as the Sailors’ Church
IMG_9577 (1280x853)
Inside Chapelle Notre Dame-de-bon-Secours
IMG_9575 (813x1280)
A steeple of Chapelle Notre Dame-de-bon-Secours
IMG_9574 (1280x853)
Rue St. Paul. The oldest street in Montreal and once its main thoroughfare
IMG_9573 (1280x853)
Rue St. Paul. The oldest street in Montreal and once its main thoroughfare
IMG_9572 (853x1280)
Marche de Bonsecours. Once the main public market for Montreal is now home to high-end shops
IMG_9571 (1280x853)
Marche de Bonsecours once housed a Parliament session and was the seat of Montreal’s City Hall

IMG_9569 (1280x853)

IMG_9540 (1280x853)
Chateau Ramezay which housed various political leaders in the 18th Century
IMG_9537 (853x1280)
Hotel de Ville de Montreal– City Hall of Montreal 
IMG_9536 (853x1280)
Nelson’s Column 
IMG_9535 (1280x853)
Nelson’s Column
IMG_9534 (1280x853)
City Hall of Montreal
IMG_9532 (866x1280)
Alley in Vieux Montreal
IMG_9529 (1280x970)
Rue St. Paul–portions of the street of pedestrian only during certain times of the year
IMG_9528 (1280x853)
Rue St. Paul–portions of the street of pedestrian only during certain times of the year
IMG_9527 (1280x1230)
Rue St. Paul–portions of the street of pedestrian only during certain times of the year
IMG_9525 (1280x853)
Rue St. Paul–portions of the street of pedestrian only during certain times of the year
IMG_9522 (1280x853)
Inside Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal

IMG_9515 (1280x1046)

IMG_9513 (853x1280)
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal
IMG_9512 (853x1280)
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal
IMG_9511 (853x1280)
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal
IMG_9508 (1280x810)
musee de la banque de montreal from the Notre Dame Basilica 
IMG_9507 (1280x853)
musee de la banque de montreal from the Notre Dame Basilica 
IMG_9506 (1280x853)
Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal 
IMG_9505 (853x1280)
Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal
IMG_9504 (833x1280)
Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal
IMG_9502 (1280x925)
Courtyard in Vieux Montreal
IMG_9500 (1280x853)
Street in Vieux Montreal
IMG_9497 (853x1280)
Centre D’Historie de Montreal– Once a firestation is today a History Center on Montreal
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s